Source Pravda.Ru

Barack Obama Takes Long-Awaited Decision on Troop Level in Afghanistan

Officials say, US President Barack Obama has issued new orders for the US military in Afghanistan. The president made a decision on how many more troops to send.

Mr Obama told senior military leaders about his long-awaited decision on troop numbers on Sunday night, a White House spokesman said.

The president is now briefing the UK, French and Russian leaders on the plan.

The moves come as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would send 500 more soldiers to the country.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr Obama held an unannounced meeting on Sunday night with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, BBC News reports.

The New York Times quoted White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs as saying, “The commander-in-chief has issued the orders.”

Mr. Gibbs did not provide a precise figure for the new level of forces, although senior advisers to the president have said Mr. Obama intends to commit roughly 30,000 more troops. After weeks of intense deliberation, Mr. Obama plans to share his strategy with the American people Tuesday evening in a speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Mr. Gibbs said the president would discuss in the speech how he intends to pay for the plan, and will make clear that he has an exit strategy. “This is not an open-ended commitment,” the press secretary said, The New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama may need Republicans to back his latest troop increase to make up for Democratic antiwar defections. The GOP, however, will question any decision that falls short of Gen. McChrystal's request for 40,000 more troops, said Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.). In a phone interview from Afghanistan, where he and other lawmakers were visiting, Mr. Price was skeptical of what he feared would be half measures to try to please both parties. "If what you're trying to do is to please all people, than that might not make any sense," he said.

But the administration seems prepared to reject another of Gen. McChrystal's top priorities: his call to double the size of the Afghan police and army over the next few years.

The administration now favors an alternative plan that would seek to build a larger Afghan security force, but one that would be considerably smaller than what Gen. McChrystal had wanted, these people said. The president is likely to talk about Afghan troops Tuesday, without specifying a growth target for expanding their ranks.

"The president has a realistic view of how successful the training regimen can be, and that has helped inform his decision," a senior administration official said Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reports.